Review – Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE

Sony first full frame mirrorless camera a7 was announced in 2013 with 5 FE lenses, and many people criticised that the number of FE lenses were far less than sufficient. Throughout the years more and more 3rd party manufacturers have joined the line to produce Sony FE mount lenses, and Samyang is one of the manufacturers that produce amazing FE AF lenses with an affordable price.

The Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE lens is the latest product in Sony FE lines. It is designed in a very compact form that is almost identical as the Samyang AF 35mm F2.8 FE and Sony Zeiss 35mm F2.8.

Left from the shot is Sony Zeiss FE 35mm F2.8, right is the Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 AF

Lens Specification and Design

The Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE specification as following:

  • Length in 37mm (exclude the lens hood)
  • Weight in 93g (exclude lens hood and lens cap)
  • Maximum diameter 61.8mm
  • 49mm filter thread
  • F 2.8 to F 22
  • 7 elements in 7 groups
  • 7 blades
  • Minimum focus distance 24cm
  • Maximum magnification ratio 0.13x

Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE comes with a hard compact lens case with red colour zip, its design is similar to the lens design itself.

Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE and Lens Case

Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE is compact and made by plastic, and the silver matte colour painted lens mount seems to be made by plastic too. However, for such a less than 100g lens it shouldn’t be much hassle.

Thanks to the internal focusing design, the front lens barrel does not rotate when focusing, it’s great for filter users. The focus ring is smooth and does not have any hard stop at the end. It is surrounded by a metallic red ring and a silver ring which add a pleasant view to the minimalist lens appearance.

The lens hood is tiny and keep the lens in low profile.

Lens Performance

Sharpness and CA

The lens surface is coated with Samyang Ultra-Multi-Coating to increase the sharpness and clarity by reducing the lens flare and ghosting. To test the sharpness and CA, I uploaded the 100% cropped of the center and corner test chart shots as below.

The center sharpness is good at its widest open F2.8 with visible magenta CA, stop down to F4 significantly increase the sharpness, F5.6 is the sharpest and no visible CA, sharpness slightly reduce from F8 onwards while the F22 sharpness is the softest as it is suffered from the diffraction.

At corner, F2.8 sharpness is good and the sharpness is further increased when stop down, F5.6 being the sharpest and F22 the softest. Magenta CA is spotted at F2.8, F4, F16 and F22 but it is pretty well controlled at the corners.

I’m impressed by Samyang AF F2.8 FE sharpness and CA control performance. Great job Samyang!

Vignetting

The vignetting is heavy at F2.8, and visible across all the other apertures. 

F 2.8
F 4
F 5.6
F 8
F 11
F 16
F 22

Nevertheless, the vignetting is pretty easy to be corrected in post-processing software like Adobe Lightroom, Capture One Pro, etc.

Distortion

There is minor barrel distortion spotted.

Ghosting and Flare

I have mixed feeling regarding the ghosting and flare control by the new Samyang lens. At very occasional situation, there would be a strong visible ball shape ghosting when directly shooting at the light source at certain angle.

To confirm it is not caused by man-made mistake, I clean the lens surface and attach the lens hood, shoot at the LED light, and compare the same shooting condition with the Sony Zeiss SEL35F28Z as following.

The ball-shaped ghosting only occurs in Samyang lens and I couldn’t replicate it in the Sony Zeiss SEL35F28Z .

In real life shooting, night shots and long exposure shots are pretty fine and seems not affected by the ghosting issue.

Direct shooting at sun also seems unaffected by the ghosting issue.

Throughout my days of shooting, I rarely notice any of the ball-shaped ghosting. For the flare and ghosting control part, although it is not perfect but it’s still doing good in most of the shooting scenarios.

Macro/Close Up

The Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE minimum focus distance is 24mm, with a 0.13x magnification ratio. When shoot at the closest focus distance the SD card is not magnified much, if you want to shoot some sort of macro or close up photography then this lens is not going to be your first choice.

Bokeh

The bokeh appear in circular at its widest open F2.8. The bokeh do not hold in circular shape once it stops down to F4 onwards.

The lotus below is shot at F2.8 and cropped the bokeh for reference. At 100% cropped, the bokeh might not as creamy as you would like.

Hands On Experiences

I always like to travel light, Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE compact design is perfectly matched with my Sony a7 III and it gives minimum attraction to others when shooting on the street.

The AF motor is silent, fast, and accurate; the eye-AF and continuous AF are working as smoothly as the native FE lens. I did a quick AF test for video shooting, there is also no audible noise and the AF transition is smooth too.

If you have concern on the ball shaped ghosting issue I wrote earlier, honestly it rarely occured throughout my days of shooting. In overall, I am quite satisfied and enjoyed the shooting with Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE lens.

Sample Shots

Well, let’s have some more sample shots taken by Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE, they are straight out of camera jpeg, cropped for few shots and resized in Capture One Pro 11, no other post-processing involved.

Summary

Pros

  • compact and light weight
  • good sharpness even at F2.8
  • great chromatic aberration control
  • short minimum focus distance
  • silent and accurate AF 

Cons

  • strong ball shaped ghosting might cause a concern when direct shooting at sun/light source in certain angle
  • heavy vignetting across all apertures but can be corrected easily
  • plastic built

Verdicts

The Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE is compact, light weight, and its optical performance is pretty good consider it is being sell with a price tag of  USD 399 or SGD499. If you are looking for a compact AF wide angle lens, it’s recommended to get the Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE (well, also the only choice at the moment)

Wish you enjoyed the review and happy shooting, cheers!

Follow me on:

Leave a Reply